Fundación Escuela Contra La Pobreza , or Against Poverty Foundation, is a Manizales based charity which is bringing heart into the Christmas season. Founded by Victor Caceido, this is the story of how one person got their life on track, and now works to help others find their way through acts of love and support.

Fundación Escuela Contra la Pobreza

Founded in 2009 the organization was created to give personally addressed gifts to the poorest children in Manizales. Each year, they gather information including the names and ages of the children of the following neighborhoods:

  • Sierra Morena
  • Estrada
  • Jazmin
  • Asis Colon
  • Avanzada
  • San Ignacio
  • San Sebastian
  • Galán
  • Sub Andres
  • Sponsorship Group (children who are worked with on a regular basis)

Now celebrating their 10th year of existence, persisting in creating acts of kindness on a LOCAL level, they need your help.

Fundacion Escuela Contra La Pobreza is a certified non-profit foundation. Any business entity which supports the activities of these events will receive a receipt with their tax-write off information. For more information contact Victor Caicedo via WhatsApp at +57 314 823 2667, or Mariana Londoño via WhatsApp at 321 781 2667, for English assistance contact 312 794 8245.

Victor Caicedo, and his team of volunteers go to each neighborhood and create the spirit of Christmas. Most of the volunteers are university students from varying disciplines who donate their free time to gather resources, sell brownies, purchase age appropriate gifts, wrap them and then hand them out.

Photo Credit: Fundación Escuela Contra La Pobreza

Engaging With Children

Upon arrival, the children of the neighborhood are gathered at the nearest community center or salon space to engage in an age-appropriate didactic activity.

This is intended to stimulate a love for art, crafts or some sort of artisan trade, or artistic talent. It is their hope that this yearly activity may one day stimulate the learning, engagement or simply help these children, to discover ways to support themselves and get ahead in life. Small acts of love could be enough to push them to get an education or create a small business.

Together we are planting the seeds of opportunity in these children.

As part of the event, each child is given “Natilla y Buñuelos,” a type of Colombian Christmas pudding and a fried dough ball. In the Coffee Axis, this is a mainstay of the holiday celebrations. December wouldn’t be complete in Colombia unless you have eaten this traditional dessert.

Support Local via a Well Sourced Local Charity

We learned of this yearly event via other local residents who are part of the expat community and who also follow this blog on a regular basis. Through their recommendations we were able to verify the legitimacy and effectiveness of the foundation. They have a very simple system where even the smallest contribution plays an important part of hitting their goals.

How You Can #SupportLocal

In Manizales, between 1,500 – 2,000 children have been identified in the 5 poorest neighborhoods. For many of these children, this is the only Christmas they are probably going to get – aside from their regular government support regarding school supplies and basic necessities.

Fundación Escuela Contra La Pobreza
Photo Credit: Fundación Escuela Contra La Pobreza

Really, it’s not that many – but it doesn’t make them any less deserving. If anything, it makes it that much easier to make a difference by helping them.

Here’s what we need do in order to help Fundación Escuela Contra la Pobreza to reach their goal:

#1 There are 70 – 600 children in each neighborhood. The average cost for buying gifts is 1,500,000 (~$500 USD) COP, per neighborhood. Each gift is ~10,000 COP.  Gifts are chosen according to age.

#2 Each child and their parents receive a plate of Natilla. Enough Natilla for 130 people costs approximately 150,000 COP (~$50 USD). The local food plaza (La Galeria) sells Natilla in bulk. Milk is included in this cost estimate.

#3 Each Buñelo costs 350 COP. We need approximately 3,000 Buñuelos for children and their parents.

#4 For human logistics wrapping gifts, handing them out, helping with the activity, they need 10 people including Foundation members. This is for each event. Volunteer for one day, or several.

#5 The Novena Prayers and traditional songs, and entertainment will be hosted at each event. The event dates are from December 15th through the 22nd, 2019. If you are a musician, or have a talent which you can share with people who probably have never set foot inside a theater – come help us to bring it to them!

Fundación Escuela Contra La Pobreza
Photo: Credit: Fundación Escuela Contra La Pobreza

This is a really simply organized and straight forward charity organization. Anyone who wants to participate, help put on a show for the families or donate to the event, as little as 10,000 COP can make a difference – this is a great way to #SupportLocal by helping local communities.

Fundacion Escuela Contra La Pobreza is a certified non-profit foundation. Any business entity which supports the activities of these events will receive a receipt with their tax-write off information. For more information contact Victor Caicedo via WhatsApp at +57 314 823 2667, or Mariana Londoño via WhatsApp at 321 781 2667, for English assistance contact 312 794 8245.